Every Oscar Best Picture-Winning Movie Based on a Book or a Play

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Every Oscar Best Picture-Winning Movie Based on a Book or a Play

From Ben-Hur to The Silence of the Lambs, movies rooted in literature have captivated audiences for decades. The Academy must be enthralled by these films as well, because two-thirds of Oscar Best Picture winners have been adapted from literary sources.

Moonlight’s dramatic win made it the 60th literary movie to earn the award, so we decided to list every winning title inspired by a book, short story, play or epic poem (here’s looking at you, Braveheart). Enjoy diving back in time through 80+ years of Oscar history.

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1moonlight poster.png Moonlight

Based on: “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” (play) by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Directed by: Barry Jenkins

Starring: Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2017 (89th Academy Awards Ceremony)

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12 years poster.jpg 12 Years a Slave

Based on: Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Directed by: Steve McQueen

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2014 (86th Ceremony)

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1argo poster.jpg Argo

Based on: The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez and “The Great Escape” (Wired article) by Joshuah Bearman

Directed by:   Ben Affleck  

Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2013 (85th Ceremony)

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1slumdog poster.jpg Slumdog Millionaire

Based on: Q & A by Vikas Swarup

Directed by:   Danny Boyle  

Starring: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Irrfan Khan

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2009 (81st Ceremony)

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1no country poster.jpg No Country for Old Men

Based on: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Directed by: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Starring:   Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2008 (80th Ceremony)

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1million poster.jpg Million Dollar Baby

Based on: Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner by F.X. Toole

Directed by:   Clint Eastwood  

Starring: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman 

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2005 (77th Ceremony)

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1lord poster.jpg The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Based on: The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien 

Directed by:   Peter Jackson  

Starring:   Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2004 (76th Ceremony)

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1chicago poster.jpg Chicago

Based on: Chicago (musical) by Fred Ebb, Bob Foss and John Kander, which was based on Chicago (play) by Maurine Dallas Watkins

Directed by: Rob Marshall

Starring: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2003 (75th Ceremony)

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1beautiful mind poster.jpg A Beautiful Mind

Based on: A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar

Directed by:   Ron Howard  

Starring:   Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2002 (74th Ceremony)

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1english poster.jpg The English Patient

Based on: The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Directed by: Anthony Minghella

Starring:   Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1997 (69th Ceremony)

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